The casting of a Caucasian Hollywood star is lame, especially when it's purpose is to generate box office dollars. That being said, THE GREAT WALL was a joint production with Hollywood and China. Politically incorrect as it may seem, China is just as guilty casting an white American bankable movie star. Politics really isn't what this blog is about, but I just wanted to give my two cents on the matter. Moving on.
English mercenary William Garin (Damon) and his partner Pero Tovar of Spain are traveling through China in search of gunpowder, sorry I meant to say 'Black Powder". Their paths cross with a band of marauders and are ruthlessly pursued. One night they are attacked, not by bandits, but by something else! The next morning William and Pero are pursed again, but find sanctuary at the Great Wall of China.
Their welcome is short lived when orders are given to execute Willian and Pero. Death will have to wait because monsters begin to attack the Wall. The opportunity of escape appears but William instead joins the fight against the monsters. This wins him good favor with the Chinese army.
A weakness in the monsters is discovered, but the findings might be too late once it has been discovered the Wall has been breached! The fight moves into the city where our warriors have one last shot to kill the monster's Queen.
Man, I really wanted to like THE GREAT WALL but I just found myself being bored too many times. A monster movie from the guy that gave us HERO and HOUSE OF FLYING DAGGERS shouldn't be boring! Almost every single action scene came off as very matter-of-fact like. There were no bad ass moments to be found. When the weapon that works best against the monsters, it's time to go back to the drawing board.
The costumes and set designs were beautiful but that was about it.
The monster's (I don't remember what they were called) were kinda cool, but not cool enough. Plus they were CGI which gets hinders the suspense quite a bit. The horde of monsters reminded be of the zombie hordes in WORLD WAR Z. Coincidence that Max Brooks, the author of World War Z has a story credit for THE GREAT WALL?
With the exception of the costumes and choreography, the climax of the film was the only thing that felt Yimou like to me? And that was the our two heroes were fighting monsters inside a Stained Glass tower!
In conclusion, if you like monster movies then give THE GREAT WALL a Redbox rental, or wait until Netflix. It is a decent popcorn flick, just not one worth seeing at the theater. If there is ever an extended cut released on video, I might see what that's all about?
One thing is for sure, THE GREAT WALL is a whole lot better than JASON BOURNE? Oops!